CHENNAI : Does the brain contain the consciousness like orange containing the juice? Can we squeeze the consciousness out of the brain as we do with the orange? Thoughts of some Neuroscientists are as absurd as this when they declare that consciousness is the product of the brain function.However, Vedanta says that you become the object yourself when you focus on the object.
When we are immersed in an event, like buying a car, we are so engrossed that we forget ourselves during the transaction. All our attention is on the vehicle only. Our consciousness must have enveloped the object during the process. Vedanta says that Newtonian laws are not applicable to the consciousness.
The consciousness moves and does not move. It is far and at the same time near. It is inside and also outside. The mind is irrelevant in the absence of consciousness. The self (subjective consciousness) is one timeless and spaceless subject that is everywhere. When we are absorbed in an object, ‘Self’ has already connected the subject with the object.
While Vedanta approaches consciousness from the expansive point of view, the science looks at it from the reduction point of view. Neuroscience works on the ‘Neural correlates of consciousness,’ looking for cells that produce consciousness. The Neuroscientist is seized on the ‘binding problem’ that connects different elements of the brain into one functional unit. Vedanta makes it simple, ‘just as one ocean is responsible for all waves, the ‘Self’ connects everything together.’
Midbrain, pons and medulla of the brain form the brainstem over which the cortex expands like an umbrella. When the upper part of the midbrain is cut, a person becomes unconscious, but he is alive because the centres for the involuntary functions of the heart and lungs lie in the lower medulla. The ‘Reticular Activating System (RAS)’ is the loose meshwork of neurons present in the brainstem. ‘RAS’ filters the input of all senses from the external world and appropriately stimulates the cerebral cortex to the waking state by opening the gate of the sensory thalamus. This is the mechanism of the creation of the waking state by the brain. The waking state is indeed a cerebral mechanism of projection of the external world by decoding the incoming sensory input.
This built-in mechanism of the brain proves that our bodies are meticulously designed similar to the design of a robot using artificial intelligence. Can the robot ever understand the person who has developed it? If that is the case, can we ever really understand our creator?
The physical body is fitted with certain outgoing senses which sense the electromagnetic external world of a certain range and deciphers it according to its own programme. How can the programme understand the programmer?
Modern Neuroscientists say that by stimulating a thin layer of cells called ‘claustrum’ in the brain, one can induce loss of consciousness and by the withdrawal of the stimulation, the person immediately becomes conscious. The Neuroscientists are looking for the location of the consciousness in some cells of the brain, forgetting the fact that the consciousness is the very observer. When the observer’s consciousness meets the consciousness of the patient, the consciousness or unconsciousness of the patient becomes apparent to the consciousness of the observer!
Desires create the mind. Mind creates the body. Desires depend on the built-in software and its interaction with the external world. Denying everything connected to the body/mind is the only way to escape from the limitation. The limitation is misery and infinity is bliss. Denial of limitation is the acceptance of infinity.Dr R N Sreenathan,Academic Director Chinmaya International Foundation. Contact at email@example.com